IBM researchers train Watson to identify eye abnormalities


Advancements in image analytics and deep learning technology could aid doctors in their fight against preventable blindness.

By Tas Bindi | February 21, 2017 — 01:23 GMT (17:23 PST) | Topic: Innovation

IBM researchers in Melbourne have trained a research version of Watson to Retina recognize recognize in retina images that could assist doctors in the early detection of eye diseases such as glaucoma, nicknamed “the silent thief of sight” as many patients remain undiagnosed until irreversible vision loss occurs.

Commencing in 2015, the IBM researchers applied deep learning techniques and image analytics technology to 88,000 de-identified retina images accessed through EyePACS to analyze key anomalies of the eye and streamline some of the manual processes that doctors have to undertake when diagnosing eye diseases.

In the future, Watson will be capable of detecting features of other eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, IBM said in an announcement.

“Medical images represent a rich source of data for clinicians to make early diagnosis and treatment of disease, from assessing the risk of melanomas to identifying eye diseases through the analysis of retinas. Cognitive technology holds immense promise for confirming the accuracy, reproducibility, and efficiency of clinicians’ analyses during the diagnostic workflow.”

Dr. Notaro said “Until this technology is available worldwide and it is being used in office is retina specialist, I highly recommend you see your retina doctor on a regular basis.  We have appointments available in the new future.  Call our office and set up your next visit.”